Rotary role model moves on


Transgender woman Monica Mulholland, who finished her term as Rotary’s Queenstown president last week, says she wouldn’t have taken the role in her former male gender.

The prominent Rotarian made national headlines two years ago.

Two-and-a-half months after changing gender, she was nominated as the service club’s president-elect, before taking on the presidency a year ago.

“I felt in my new gender that it’s important we put out role models because our suicide rate is so high.

“Because we don’t see other transgender people, we think we’re completely alone.”

During her term, Mulholland says her Rotary club became the first in the world to host an information exchange with its local LGBTTQI+ community with full support from Rotary International’s president, along with the district governor.

She also brought in a ‘president’s guest’ from the community each meeting night.

“We were more outward-looking towards the community, we weren’t looking inwards as we tended to be in the past.”

Mulholland says she had a mandate to change things – “I knew that some of them would fail and some of them would work”.

Her successor is former local funeral director Russell McGrouther, who’s been club administrator chairman for the past two years.

In his speech last week, he said “I am somewhat a traditionalist”, but he’s open to looking at new ideas, projects or incentives to enhance Rotary’s involvement in the local community.